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August 28, 2009

You Love Chairmangreenspan Bernanke, Because He’s There


Ben Bernanke does not excite me, but maybe I’m too picky. He is a rather dull man whose white beard looks like it needs to move as quickly as possible to the top of his head. And he doesn’t seem to know a lot about how to keep U.S. currency strong, which I wouldn’t normally hold against a guy, but this guy is the chairman of the Federal Reserve.


But that’s why you love him – because he is the chairman of the Federal Reserve. And you, business leaders of America, have proven for decades that you love the Fed chairman, whoever he is, however he chairs. You just want him to stay.


Oh won’t you stay

Just a little bit longer?

Our stocks’ in play

Just a little bit longer


Now if the bankers don’t mind

The regulators don’t mind

If you take a little time

Cut my interest by a dime

We don’t . . . care that you’re wrong


Why do you love the chairman of the Fed? I have no idea. But you do. And I know you do because every time a Fed chairman is up for re-nomination, the markets get very nervous about the possibility that the president might nominate someone new. When the president re-nominates the old Fed chairman, as he almost always does, markets collectively breathe a sigh of relief, and do silly things like they did earlier this week.


That was when the Dow rose 30 points – on the same day, mind you, that the Obama Administration announced it had underestimated the next decade’s deficits by, oh, a lot – all because Gentle Ben was re-nominated for another term at the helm of the Fed.


Marketeers, always susceptible to “jitters,” breathed a sigh of relief. “Ah! Bernanke’s coming back! That’s awesome, because under him, the currency has been in the toilet and the economy has been in a downward spiral. We love him.”


Why do you love him, exactly? Because he’s there, and you’re not hard to please.


When Jimmy Carter nominated Paul Volcker to chair the Fed, you got used to this big bear of a man who spoke in authoritative baritones. Ronald Reagan couldn’t name much that he thought Carter did right, but when Volcker came up for re-nomination, Reagan kept him around.


You were so relieved! What would you ever do without Volcker?


But eventually, Volcker retired, and Reagan nominated Alan Greenspan, who read Ayn Rand and confidently told us all kinds of things that were sure to happen (regardless of whether he actually had a clue). When Greenspan testified before Congress, it was as if God had spoken from a burning bush, except that the media would probably assume an arsonist was at work in the latter scenario. GREENSPAN SAYS RECESSION POSSIBLE! GREENSPAN SAYS DEFICIT COULD BE HIGHER! GREENSPAN SAYS METS TO STINK!


He was Carnac for nerds. And he could never, ever be allowed to go away. The market would go bananas. Even Bill Clinton had no choice but to re-nominate Reagan’s man. He was there. He had to always be there. The market would have it no other way.


Then, when Greenspan finally retired, George W. Bush nominated old baldhead/whitebeard Bernanke, who presided over some of the most convoluted monetary policy in the history of mankind. But when President Obama re-nominated him, you were so relieved, you went out and bought a bunch of freaking housing stocks! (Pulte was up 3.5 percent. You explain it.)


So how do I get this job? I’ve never had a job where everyone wanted me to stay, no matter how poorly I performed it. But that is apparently one of the perks of being chairman of the Federal Reserve. It’s hard to get, but once you’ve got it, people will go nuts if they make you leave, because they love you.


Until they love the next guy.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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